Integrating Quotations


  • Be careful not to overuse quotes; be purposeful.

    • The majority of your essay should be in your own language and summarizing and paraphrasing ideas to show your ability to synthesize content. However, there are times where you want to include a direct reference to a text where you need to quote a specific passage.

      • When challenging or critiquing an argument of an author, it is helpful to include a specific reference to his or her language before offering your counterargument.

      • If you are analyzing literature, sometimes there is a specific part that really exemplifies a conflict or the author's style. In these cases, quoting is very appropriate.

  • Integrating the quotation into your commentary

    • Setting up the quotation takes practice and skill. Once you have selected the quotation that you want to use, your job is to smoothly integrate it into your writing by weaving into your commentary.

    • The words before the quote and after the quote are important so that the reader can cohesively see the purpose behind the text evidence.

    • Therefore, it is important to provide context for each quotation. Provide the reader with context, establishing the basic scene or under what circumstances the text was written and being very clear to who is speaking: Is it the narrator? Is it the author? Is it a specific character? What is happening at this part of the book or plot?

      • “Run-in” Format: naturally integrate the quote into your sentence.

      • Although no one in Maycomb had seen Boo for years, “the neighborhood thought that when Mr. Radley went under Boo would come out,” but instead, Boo’s older brother, Nathan Radley moved back to town to carry out their father’s restrictions on Boo (12).

      • Note: The citation is placed at the end of the paragraph even though the quotation ended earlier.

      • Colon/Introductory Clause Format: set up the quote with an introductory clause.

      • Atticus tries to explain Mr. Cunningham’s involvement with the mob to Scout: “Mr. Cunningham’s basically a good man … he just has blind spots along with the rest of us” (157).

      • Hamlet denies Rosencrantz’s claim that thwarted ambition caused his depression: “I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space” (Hamlet 2.2).

      • Block Quotes: More than four lines

      • The block quote is used for direct quotations that are longer than four lines of prose, or longer than three lines of poetry. A block quote is always used when quoting dialogue between characters, as in a play. The block format does not include quotation marks since you are indicating that you are quoting by indenting the block of text. Introduce the block quote with a colon and then indent the quote one inch from the left margin.

It is not until near the end of The Hound of the Baskervilles that the hound itself is actually seen:

A hound it was, an enormous coal-black hound, but not such a hound as mortal eyes have ever seen. Fire burst from its open mouth, its eyes glowed with a smouldering glare, its muzzle and hackles and dewlap were outlined in flickering flame. Never in the delirious dream of a disordered brain could anything more savage, more appalling, more hellish be conceived than that dark form and savage face which broke upon us out of the wall of fog. (Doyle 82)


Be sure to explain the significance of the quoted passage and how it relates to the point you are proving in your paragraph.

Sentence Starters to Cite Text Evidence

The author uses ___________ (technique) in order to establish _____.

In the text, the author described _____.

The author explains that_____

According to the author, _____

The _____tone of the passage is created through ______/

The author states/says/implies _____

The author describes _____

The author explicitly states _____

For example,

Sentence Starts to Elaborate on Text Evidence

In this exchange, the character emphasizes._____

In this situation, the character describes ______.

In this instance, the character expresses _____.

In this scene, the author reveals _______________________________________________.

The description of __________ indicates _______.

This situation is similar to ...

The fact that ______(rephrase your evidence) illustrates that _____(give your reason) because ______(your analysis).

This (piece of evidence) demonstrates ____.

This point is significant because_____

The speaker’s attitude towards _____ is best described as one of _____

The author juxtaposes _____ to _____ in order to _____.

For instance, _____

The evidence suggests that _____

The fact that _____ proves that _____

This example illustrates _____

The main point of the passage is to _____

In this situation, the character _____

In this passage, the author emphasizes._____

The fact that _______(rephrase your evidence) illustrates that _____ (rephrase your claim) because (your analysis).

Example of a Detailed Paragraph with Integrated Quotations

When writing your detailed paragraph, please include at least 10-11 sentences to fully develop your point. Use the following model as a guide.

Point=Write a topic sentence that states the main idea or main point of the paragraph.

Evidence=Provide textual examples and/or short quotes from the text to support your point. Some other examples of evidence may include facts, examples, details, cause/effect relationships, anecdotes, testimonials, and statistics.

Elaborate how your evidence relates to the point.

Evidence=Provide textual examples and/or short quotes from the text to support your point. Some other examples of evidence may include facts, examples, details, cause/effect relationships, anecdotes, testimonials, and statistics.

Elaborate how your evidence relates to the point.

Link: Include a concluding sentence that links together the preceding sentences by emphasizing the main idea, and also linking to the next paragraph.

In Act One, Scene Two, Shakespeare uses metaphorical and ironic language in order to express that things are not always what they seem. When Claudius and Gertrude confront Hamlet about his grief over his father, he implies that they really have no understanding to the depths of his despair. He tells his mother, “Seem, madam! nay it is; I know not ‘seems’” (1.2.76). In this passage, he is responding to Gertrude’s request for him to not continue mourning his father’s death. Through this statement, Hamlet suggests that his mother has no idea of the suffering he experiences by playing on the word “seems.” Shakespeare then includes a series of litotes or understatements in order to emphasize his grief. When he says that “Nor customary suits of solemn black” (1.2.78) or “Nor windy suspiration of forced breath” (1.2.79), he implies that this is just his appearance of grief--it is not truly how he feels. By starting each line with “Nor” or “No,” he shows the contrast between reality and his feelings by negating his emotions. His metaphorical language also reinforces this theme. Hamlet says that “nor the fruitful river in the eye” can “denote” his true feelings (1.2.80). Here, Shakespeare uses this metaphor of a river to show the tears that he has over his father’s death. With this comparison, he reinforces the idea that there are different shapes to grieving, and the river in the eye, or the unending tears are only part of his grief. Hamlet concludes by stating that man has many “actions” that he might play in his outward appearance of grief, but he implies that it is only the individual on the inside who can truly see to the extent of one’s suffering. Through Hamlet's language, Shakespeare utilizes metaphorical and ironic language to depicts the complexity of Hamlet's unseemly grief over his father.

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